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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Staying Sharp Notes and Many Useful Links from booklist and NoveList

The latest issue of The Corner Shelf edited by Susan Maguire for Booklist Magazine is now live. This is a wonderful newsletter that explores the place where collection development and RA service meet, kinda like this program I a hosting a week from today [there is still room and Susan will be there too].

There is a lot of good information in every issue, new and backlist. You can click here to see the full archive of newsletters.

However, I wanted to highlight the feature article, "Staying Sharp: Discovering New Authors, Keeping up With Trends," a recap of a program with the same name, for a few reasons:

  • This program with NoveList featured a few of my friends and even two people I mentored in their early careers. All of these presenters know what they are talking about.
  • While their were issues with the recording and they cannot share it, the most useful part of the content was recreated in this article by the panelists for you here and below.
  • The entire point of the program was all about staying fresh and on top of trends. Something I write about on this blog all of the time. Click here to see some of those posts.
  • And....they mention this blog as a great resource. 
But seriously, this feature article from the newsletter is one you can use today, tomorrow, and going forward because it is filled with the links and information you need to let the trends and emerging issues come to you. We are all busy managing all of the moving parts that make up our jobs as library workers, but staying in sharp is key to so much of what we do. Let the experts help you make at least this part of your job, easy.

Staying Sharp: Discovering New Authors, Keeping Up with Trends.

Maguire, Susan (author).

FEATURE. First published September 13, 2018 (Booklist Online).

Your patrons come to you for reading suggestions, but keeping up with the world of books can be a daunting task. How do you identify trends? Can you know about a breakout hit before it hits? What kind of read-alikes do you need to pick up the slack for the holds queue?

We discussed the answers to these questions and more at the RA Conversation: Staying Sharp—sponsored by NoveList—on July 30 at the Woodson Regional Library in Chicago. Joining me were Rohini Bokka, technical services manager, Naperville Public Library; Emily Borsa, adult services librarian, Hinsdale Public Library; and Katie McLain, adult reference assistant, Waukegan Public Library, and contributing editor for Book Riot.

What do we mean by staying sharp? Put simply, it is this: someone asks you a book question, and you can answer it.

Well, maybe it’s not that simple, but by staying sharp, you can anticipate some of your patrons needs, either passively, by making sure you have enough copies of that surprise bestseller or ready lists of readalikes; or actively, by being aware of trends, new authors, and the hot series people are talking about. Staying sharp will give your RA conversations a solid context, leaving patrons with the comforting idea that, hey, that librarian, she knows how to find me a good book to read.

The thing is, there are so many books published every year. Then there’s the variety of publicity we have to keep up with, whether it’s a publisher’s carefully crafted media plan or good ol’ word of mouth. When our patrons hear about a book, they (rightly!) expect us to know about it. I used to drive to work listening to NPR’s Morning Edition, and I would make note of any author interviewed or book discussed (while safely stopped at a red light, of course), because I knew we would get calls for it. Add this to the fact that books are increasingly fodder for TV, movies, and streaming series, not to mention the myriad celebrity book clubs that are engaging readers in new ways: it feels like keeping up with books means keeping up with all media.

Remember back when the only book club we had to worry about was Oprah’s? And the biggest book-to-movie news was Twilight? Those were the days…
Due to myriad technical difficulties (which only proves that we are human!), we don’t have a recording of this event. But I was able to compile a list of suggested resources, suggested by Rohini, Emily, and Katie, that will help you stay sharp.

We like newsletters because they come right to your email inbox—no work required, once you’ve signed up.
Other Resources 
These websites, blogs, and podcasts are another source for the best in books.
Sources for Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs)
Twitter Accounts to Follow
Katie suggests following lots of folks on Twitter; that way, your Twitter feed will double as a professional development tool. You’ll be the first to hear when book news breaks, and you’ll get plenty of ideas for book-suggesting and displays.

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